Autism: “I wish I could feel happy or excited” BBC Stories

Autism: “I wish I could feel happy or excited” BBC Stories


I can sympathise but not empathise. So I’m able to understand why somebody might feel sad,
whilst at the same time not feeling sad with them. It’s a constant, conscious effort to think
about what needs to be said, and when and how and it’s also a struggle again because it’s
the conflict between not being yourself. What I’ve realised goes on in
my mind is never switched off, an incredibly complex train of thought.
It’s like Clapham Junction, all day, all night. So I’m incredibly analytical. Often at times
when people just want a purely emotional response a purely physical hug, or an,
“It’s all right, it’s going to be fine,” it’s taken me till now to realise that I’m not
a psychopath which I thought in the past. I get told off by my partner because she
just wants me to be happy or be excited whereas I end up looking
like a cardboard cutout. Jedi powers 85… Because I need that headspace, I struggle with
the day-to-day noise of childhood around me. Starship owner General Grievous,
droid, roller droid. Whilst it’s becoming very apparent
that he has similar traits, he’s also an eight-year-old boy who wants
to run around and fight and play Star Wars. Stop fighting. You started it.
No I didn’t. Those are the biggest conflicts, just living
with children and the mess and the noise, and this huge mirror that talks back. In difficult times I could go into
my studio and pick up a knife and slowly cut pieces of paper. It slows everything down and literally takes
the blood away from my brain and my skin and it’s fantastic, just calming down a noise,
and a noise that is just constant. I would love to be able to
feel happy and excited. We are training people to be better
at perceiving their heartbeat. The computer says “Start” and “Stop” and in between I ask the participant,
in this case Tom, to count their heartbeats. “START” I write down the actual number of heartbeats
that was counted by the computer and the number that Tom gave me. “STOP” 23.
It was 25. And then the second thing we do is the computer plays
back Tom’s heartbeat to him in the form of 10 beeps. And I will always ask Tom whether he thought
these beeps were in synch with his heartbeat… Off. …or a little delayed. Yep, that’s right. So he gets a better feeling of how
accurately he perceives his heartbeat. I’m better at counting than I am of
perceiving whether the beat is on or off. I still really struggle at home… Over the last couple of months
it’s been really, really, really tough. The one thing I have noticed with
all of these training sessions is that my mind is very, very
focused on the task and I think that’s definitely a helpful tool. I’ve actually found it much more calming
trying to listen to my heartbeat.

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9 thoughts on “Autism: “I wish I could feel happy or excited” BBC Stories”

  • Please try mediation … could be something too, perfect to calm down and stay awake and relaxed during the day + powerful tool to get to know yourself better, lear about yourself, feel yourself
    /// + your art is very beautiful =)

  • The only time I'm really aware of my heartbeat is when I'm about to go to sleep. During normal activities, its beyond my awareness. If Tom can tune into his heartbeat most of the time, then I think that's quite remarkable.

  • Each autistic person is different. This gentleman is one example. I'm autistic and l think we have to be careful about the stereotype of the empathy element and feeling no emotions that is often portrayed in the media. For me empathy l feel almost too much. Some on the spectrum feel it differently and maybe can't show it or articulate it. That they are excited. I don't show alot of things l feel in a typical way but it doesn't mean l don't feel them.

  • This is me! It is called Alexithymia. I have so much emotion but I cant name it so it all feels like stress and anxiety. I dont 'feel' happy or excited I just experience either flat or overwhelm but cannot name the individual emotions. I do have empathy though, but I feel it in my head not my heart or wherever you are meant to feel it. I am compassionate but its a cognitive experience. When I cry it's from overwhelm.

  • Dudes a top guy, all rounder renaissance man, but society tells him he has something wrong with him. Men are supposed to be stoic. Its not autism.

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